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Black Sugar Glycyrrhiza glabra

Previously known as:

  • Glycyrrhiza brachycarpa
  • Glycyrrhiza glandulifera
  • Glycyrrhiza hirsuta
  • Glycyrrhiza pallida
  • Glycyrrhiza violacea
Phonetic Spelling
(/ˈlɪkərɪʃ, -ɪs/ LIK-ər-is(h)
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Glycyrrhiza glabra, or Licorice is a flowering, herbaceous perennial legume native to Europe, parts of Asia, and most of North America, but not to the Southeastern United States.  Its roots produce an intensely sweet compound used in teas and candies. Its genus name is derived from the Greek for "sweet root" and it has has been used for centuries as a source of glycerine, a sweetener and a component in folk medicines. Plants with similar flavoring but not botanically related are anise, fennel, and star anise. The sweet compound is glycyrrhizin and is 50 to 170 times more sweet than sugar (sucrose). The extract has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antimutagenic properties. The earliest record of use of this plant medicinally is 2100 BC. Consumption in high doses is toxic. Licorice extracts are treated to remove the majority of glycyrrizin, the problematic ingredient, prior to use in products, leaving enough to maintain flavor but decreasing toxicity.

Licorice requires deep well-cultivated fertile moisture-retentive soil for good root production and prefers a sandy soil with abundant moisture. It does not flourish in clay. Slightly alkaline conditions produce the best plants. It can tolerate high winds, but not salty coastal winds or clay soils. Plant growth is initially slow, but once established the species can become weedy and difficult to remove if not kept under control by regular harvesting.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Pests and diseases include: spider mites, slugs, snails, powdery mildew, and rust.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#poisonous#edible plant#perennial#medicinal#herb garden#nitrogen fixation#herbaceous perennial
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#poisonous#edible plant#perennial#medicinal#herb garden#nitrogen fixation#herbaceous perennial
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Glycyrrhiza
    Species:
    glabra
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    An extract of the root is used as a sweetener or flavoring agent in confections. Licorice extract or oil is also used in foods, beverages, cosmetics, and toothpaste. It used in Ayurvedic (holistic) medicine to enhance the immune system, treat peptic ulcers, as an expectorant, a liver enzyme stimulant, a laxative, and a diuretic.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, northern Africa, and Asia
    Distribution:
    world-wide
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant provides shelter for beneficial insects and other animals, provides nectar for pollinators, is a nitrogen-fixer, and prevents soil erosion.
    Edibility:
    Extracts and oils of the root of this plant are used in candies and as a sweetener in foods and tobacco products.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit consists of a 1/2 inch pitted pod containing 3 to 5 brown seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Half-inch, sweet pea-like flowers are born on 4 inch long clusters. Flowers are light pink to light blue in color. They emerge from June to July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    2 3/4 to 6 inches long; 1/2 by 3/4 inch wide. The leaves have 4 to 7 pairs of leaflets.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The hairy stems are upright, growing to about 3 feet tall .
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Erosion
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Symptoms of licorice toxicity include headache (from hypertension), edema in face and ankles, muscle cramps, dark urine, and heart arrhythmia.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    High doses of glycyrrizin, found in root extracts, produces glycyrrhizic acid (GZA).
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Roots